Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs: Off the farm
Singer-guitarist Holly Golightly‘s punk rock ethos was instilled in her years ago in the UK, where she joined outsider artist and poet Billy Childish in his garage rocking act the Delmonas, which then became Thee Headcoatees. Her association with Childish, in turn, helped her establish herself in the indie rock world and subsequently led to collaborations with critically acclaimed acts such as the White Stripes, Mudhoney and Rocket from the Crypt. Hooking up with Lawyer Dave five years ago spawned the Brokeoffs, the misnamed one-man backing band that currently supports her in the studio and on the road. Her newest album, All Her Fault, was recorded at their home studio in rural Georgia and features a nice mix of garage rock rave-ups and lonesome ballads. Golightly phoned us from the road.
Talk about why you spent so much time recording this album.
It was really the freak weather we had. We had a lot of flooding. We had to have the power off in the studio for a really long time. If the power goes off suddenly, you lose everything. Rather than risk that, we would turn it off for a long time.
You’ve said you think this is your “most rounded and complete album.” Talk about that a bit.
On the whole, I don’t think it’s monumentally different. I think there’s something of everything we like to do on there. I think that’s what it is. It’s got the fun stuff and it’s got the more intricate stuff as well.
Talk about the chemistry that you have with the Brokeoffs.
It’s just [multi-instrumentalist Lawyer] Dave. He’s driving right now. Dave played bass in the four piece lineup and we’ve done a lot of playing together aside from doing this.
Do your music tastes coincide?
Not really. Dave’s tastes are more into the rock stuff than I do. I’m not interested in rock music really. That’s the big gorge of difference right there. I like really early R&B and soul music. I like dancing, so most of my influences come from pre-1960 R&B and ‘60s soul.
How did you get introduced to that music?
In Britain, it’s part of the national psyche. We pioneered it before you could hear it on national radio in America. We embraced it in a way that America never did. I was a punk rocker and I grew up listening to Motown on the radio. I think we just took it and ran with it. I don’t know why. Partly, it’s a working class thing in England. You’d be hard-pressed to find a toddler who could “Heard it Through the Grapevine,” even now. The Motown hits and the Stax hits really stick. It wasn’t unusual to have it on for hours on the radio. It was everywhere.
I saw an interview where you and Lawyer Dave finish each other’s sentences. Does that happen regularly?
Well, he just talks over the top of me. If you spend that much time together, you know what the answers are. It’s unusual for people to spend that much time around each other and do something like take off and tour.
One of my favorite tunes is “SLC.” What inspired that track?
Not one particular incident. It’s a joke we use pretty freely with each other. When someone’s been pissy, you tell them if they keep up with that attitude, you’re dropping them off in Salt Lake City. That’s how we use it. However shitty you think something is, it could be worse. We’re playing there on this tour. We’ll change the lyrics to New York City when we get to Salt Lake City.
Is “Bless Your Heart” directed at today’s country singers and stars?
Kind of loosely. It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek. We don’t get good radio reception where we live. You have the preaching or the Glenn Beck shit or you get this mainstream country music. Those are the channels we get. It’s all a little bit phony. The people we know who are the target market for this stuff don’t buy it. They think it’s ridiculous too. I think the target market is suburban guys who bought four-wheel trucks but clean them every Sunday. The actual people they sing about aren’t buying that music. They aren’t buying any music. They’re too busy fucking working.
I like the songs you performed for Broken Flowers. Have you kept in touch with Jim Jarmusch?
I had a nice letter from him. I’m in touch with the guys I recorded with. We were touring a lot together at the time which is how the recording came about. But I barely keep in touch with my mom, let alone people I did something with once. We keep a low profile. If I was living in New York City and going to all of the openings and interested in that stuff, I’d be running into them more often. They’re probably not coming to Danielsville [Georgia]. Some people drop by and see us, which is nice. But not that guy.
Do you foresee a time when you’ll be happy to stay at the farm and forego touring?
We didn’t go out last year even though we had a record out. We went up and down the East Coast a bit but not the full circle. As long as people are asking me to do it, I’ll do it. It doesn’t make a difference whether I’m recording or not. I’ll still be doing that. We’ve toured less and less because it does pose logistical problems that most musicians don’t have. It’s unusual for musicians to have that kind of responsibility. Of course, many are married and have children. When it comes to animals, that’s different.
Upcoming 2014 Tour Dates
Iowa City, IA – Trumpet Blossom
Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry
St. Louis, MO – Firebird
Kansas City, MO – Riot Room
Denver, CO – High Dive
Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court
Boise, ID – Neurolux
Seattle, WA – Highline
Portland, OR – TBA
Vancouver, BC – Electric Owl
San Francisco, CA – Thee Parkside
Santa Cruz, CA – The Crepe Place
Long Beach, CA – Alex’s Bar
Los Angeles, CA – Satellite
San Diego, CA – Casbah
Houston, TX – Rudyard’s
Austin, TX – Mohawk
Dallas, TX – Three Links